Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Creationists are intellectual terrorists

In my last post, I discussed how some of the leading creationists (this term must be used very loosely) have declared that there is no evidence that could possibly be presented that would change their minds on the issue. In this post, I'd like to write about how their tactics can be compared to those of terrorists and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm not saying that creationists are killing people with suicide bombs (although on second thought, I guess that is true), but that their tactics equate to intellectual terrorism. Allow me to explain.

These same creationists, Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis) and Kent Hovind, have been known to debate scientists on the issue of creationism vs. real science. Sorry, I meant to say that Kent Hovind used to debate scientists, before he was sentenced to prison for 10 years for LYING about his taxes. He now probably debates car thieves, disgraced politicians and ex-CEO's.

Let's think about that for a moment. Debates are supposed to be used as intellectual forums to argue one's case, usually by presenting some kind of supporting evidence, and it is usually assumed to be possible for one side of the debate to lose. Yet in this case, one side of the debate has declared, in advance, that it is not possible for it to lose, that no amount of evidence, of any kind, could actually defeat its argument.

So my first question would actually be for the scientists, and that question is, "Why would you even agree to debate a person who has declared in advance that they cannot be proven wrong by any means?" I suppose their answer would be that they do it for the audience's benefit, so that the public can see the evidence for one side, and the foolishness of the other.

The scientist will go into the debate prepared to pile on all kinds of evidence to support his (I don't use gender-neutral writing style on this page) case. The creationist plan is usually to merely try to poke holes in the evidence presented by the other side, often using misrepresentation, quote-mining, personal attacks, etc. They believe that by convincing people that the other side is wrong, that their side will be proven right. This is not a correct view because there are not only 2 possibilities in regards to this issue. This is a false-dichotomy.

If the scientist cannot immediately provide any evidence to address any question that the creationist has about science, the creationist will declare a point scored for his side. But the creationist will never provide any evidence to support his own case, because there just isn't any. Many in the audience will not be smart enough to detect this tactic, and will find themselves in agreement with the creationist.

So what does this have to do with insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq? In those wars, both sides are not playing by the same rules. One side tries to protect civilians, the other tries to kill them. One side is out in the open with uniforms, the other is hiding amongst the public. One side is expected (notice that I used the word, expected) to follow rules and to not torture prisoners, while the other side has no rules and tortures prisoners with glee.

In these debates, the creationist and many audience members DEMAND that the scientist provide evidence to support any claim. And they often make ridiculous demands for what kinds of evidence they expect, based on a total misunderstanding of the theory itself. If they believe there is any problem with that evidence, they will declare a point scored for creationism. And if there is anything that is currently unexplained, or not known with sufficient detail, that will be declared MAJOR points for creationism. The scientist is expected to take the high road to win public support, just as the NATO forces in Afghanistan are expected to take the high road.

Meanwhile, the creationist side will use logical fallacies, including but not exclusive to those mentioned above, will never provide any evidence for their claim other than to wave a book around, will demand the strictest of evidence for all claims made by the scientist, yet will have declared in advance that they will not accept any evidence that's provided anyways! They imply the importance of evidence by demanding it from the scientist, then attack intellectualism as a ridiculous philosophy. They take the lowest road, and yet they often win public support.

It should also be noted WHY both the creationists and the insurgents use these tactics. It's because they have to! In both cases, their positions are so weak that they must resort to underhanded tactics to try to gain any advantage. The insurgents cannot compete with the superior military strength of nations, and the creationists cannot compete with the evidence-backed case presented by the scientists. They stand no chance in a fair fight or debate. The tactics are used out of desperation caused by weakness compared to their opponents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call Creationists Intellectual Terrorists. Fact is I wouldn't even call them intellectuals based on their complete ignorance on issues such as Science and History.

I would agree with the terrorist description. There are many horrible things done by Creationists in the name of Jesus. Physical assault, Death threats and murder. Don't take my word for it. Do a Google search on 'Creationist Violence' and see what you find. However, by far, the dumbest move by Creationists was to make death threats against A PRESIDING JUDGE, judge Jones in the Dover PA. It didn't help that the Creationist defendant were caught perjuring themselves.

However once Creationists spent over a week calling Judge Jones making death threats against he and his family you can be pretty sure you appeared on the radar of the FBI (at a minimum).

I've read other Creationist op eds complaining that they are being equated with 9/11 militant Muslim terrorists. You know what? By your own actions you made yourself such. You have only yourselves to blame. You made your bed, now lie in it.